Business owners are finally coming to terms with the reality that social media is not the “end all, be all” answer to building a brand in local markets.
Contemplating consumer reach and acquisition begins with; who is the targeted customer and demographic, what kinds of media does the ideal customer like and how can businesses best position their branded message.
What I have learned over my 3 decades of working with small business is that maximizing sales opportunities matters. Google ads, social media, television, print, and others are there for the choosing.
Interestingly enough, while traditional print media is sometimes overlooked, the fact remains, that it continues to elevate brand recognition and can be far more engaging by comparison to its digital counterparts. Since social media gets most of the attention from small business, we will focus this article on the impacts of it, as compared to traditional print.
Living in a world of diversity, age and gender with a myriad of interests and habits, means that businesses must consider casting a wide net across 2-3 marketing channels. Studies show that a large percentage of digital usage occurs through mobile devices. Outbound/Inbound calling, texting, emails, ping and push notifications all add to the challenge of keeping consumers focused on ad messaging. I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “my phone has been blowing up all day and I just can’t take it anymore!” For me, it has become a daily occurrence.
We are so interconnected with our mobile devices that at times, it can be stressful. As a result, social media advertisers are challenged to keep the attention of its audiences beyond the documented 1.7 seconds.
As index fingers swiftly scroll from one feed to the next, its no argument that attention spans are limited. Consuming feeds through social media is like trying to read advertising billboards on a train, as it screams by you at 100 miles per hour.
No doubt, most local businesses want to reach local consumers. To capture the attention of consumers within the core 3-5 square mile radius of businesses, social media does not seem to measure up.
Examining social media connections, reveals that friends live near and far. While advertisers are sending out posts through their feed to consumers that may live up to 20-25 mile away, the reality is, they will never become core customers. In addition, people posting about a business to their friends are reaching a network that more than likely live further (outside the 3-5 mile radius) from the establishment. Posts sent out to an audience that is fragmented across several towns, counties, even states is not an effective way to reach local consumers. This explains why social media only penetrates a fraction of the local market (generally 2-3% at best).
Yes, people are on their phones all of the time. The big question is…what are they doing with them? Certainly, social media does have some impact locally, but the fact remains that its reach is fragmented. Agreed, businesses should use social media, but if they want to reach more consumers, other options must be thrown on the table.
Direct mail printed magazines provide local market saturation. A magazine that provides value driven content has a much better chance of connecting with audiences. People that read an attractive magazine are in a different state of mind; less fragmented and more singular. As a result, consumers spend a greater duration of time looking at advertisements, more than doubling those of social media.
In the end, the big benefit to the business owner is that they can saturate local markets with traditional print media to engage its audience in the advertisers core market.
As business owners challenge themselves to reach consumers that remain entwined in a multitude of digital outlets, it is certainly not the only solution. Direct mail magazines provide brand awareness, drives consumers to websites and amplifies local businesses across all media outlets.
Printed magazines have endured its 500 year modern history and will continue to influence as it remains a vital part of the marketing mix.